Tracking the legal challenge to Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance


City of Austin attorneys will be in court Monday to defend the paid sick leave ordinance passed in February that mandates employers provide paid sick days. Here are five things to know about the lawsuit:

1. What is the paid sick leave ordinance?

Set to take effect Oct. 1, the ordinance made Austin the first city in Texas to regulate sick leave. Many businesses will be required to offer 64 hours of sick time each year. Businesses with 15 or fewer employees must offer 48 hours of paid sick leave.

2. Who sued the city?

Business groups, including the Texas Association of Business, the National Federation of Independent Business and the American Staffing Association, are among the lead plaintiffs. The conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation is providing legal help to the plaintiffs.

3. Who else is involved?

Some political leaders have filed paperwork in opposition to Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance. Leading the way has been Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who has also filed to join the lawsuit andprobably will have staffers in court Monday to argue against the ordinance. On the other side, the Workers Defense Project, a nonprofit organization that has been a strong proponent of the ordinance, has filed to join the suit on the city’s behalf. Lawyers for the plaintiffs are trying to block their participation.

4. What are the arguments?

The business groups are calling for the court to strike down the ordinance, saying it violates the Texas Minimum Wage Act, which prohibits cities from requiring employers to pay minimum wages above federal standards.

5. What’s the city’s response?

The city’s legal team has filed paperwork stating that paid sick leave is not a wage and should not be subject to the Texas Minimum Wage Act.



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